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Playground Wisdom

On being right without making others wrong.

The other day I had the accidental pleasure of overhearing two little girls explain to one another why the leaf in their hand was the most beautiful one they had ever seen.  Each had an entirely different leaf and each was fully committed to explaining everything wonderful they saw in it.

“Mine had a hole in it so the sun light shines through!”

“Mine is the brightest shade of red in the whole world, it is beautiful!”

They both shared with such enthusiasm, delight and excitement.  What intrigued me the most about their conversation was that although they were both whole- heartedly committed to and sure of what they loved about their leaf, nothing they were saying suggested that their leaf was somehow better than the other or that the other’s opinion about their leaf was in any way incorrect.

Being momentarily lost in their world of uncensored self-expression I began to reflect on most of my adult conversations.  It seems somewhere along my journey to adulthood I was taught that my opinion, in order to be properly expressed, needed to be at the expense of any other differing opinions.  It was imperative that I PROVE myself.

Now granted, typically my conversations are about things a bit more cerebral than the characteristics of a leaf that I admire – but  I still believe I can be as committed and passionate, excited and certain of what I am saying without it meaning ANYTHING about your opposing view.

It’s about speaking from a place of desire to express rather than an attempt to convince.  It’s about looking for the ways in which you are aligned rather than the ways in which you differ.  It’s about respecting the person you are communicating with enough to make their opinion valid and being curious enough to stay flexible with your thoughts and understanding.

It’s about embracing the wide-eyed wonder and brilliance of childhood.  We really had it figured out back then, remember?

So tell me, what are YOUR thoughts??!?

 

 

 

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    The Truth {Hurts} Heals

    On questioning your assumptions and creating your own truth

     

    Think of a particularly contentious situation in your life right now.  Perhaps it is one where you feel very stuck, powerless or afraid.  Perhaps it is a conflict you are currently experiencing with a loved one, a co-worker or a friend.  Perhaps it is a way in which you feel you have been continually letting yourself down.  It may seem like all the evidence is suggesting you are incapable of accomplishing what needs to happen in this situation.

    Yuck!

    Luckily that simply is never true.  Are you ready to get unstuck?

    Follow me.

    Take a deep breath. Sit up straight or better yet, get up on both feet, plant them firmly and allow your body, then your mind and finally your heart to take up as much space as you can possibly allow.

    Now ask yourself these three powerful questions.

    What IS true?

    When you truly check in with yourself about what you KNOW to be true, there is no room for assumptions.  You cannot decide anything on behalf of others.  All you can know is your own truth. This question creates space for you to differentiate between  actual events that have occurred and the assumptions you have made about what those events mean. When you get real with yourself about what is absolutely unquestionable true, there is NO ROOM for negative self talk, or words like “never” and “always” that limit and defeat us.

    What FEELS true?

    This is the space to explore your assumptions. What have you made up is going on? Bringing your awareness here allows you to choose if this thought pattern is serving you or if it is something you are willing to let go of.  Often we make assumptions to protect ourselves. Our assumptions may be designed to justify our actions or explain the ways in which we are right.  Likely when we are busy making ourselves right we are making others wrong.  What feels true are valid and important thoughts, but it is important to differentiate THE truth from your OWN truth. When we are fully aware of the parts of the story we have made up, we are empowered to create a new story. We have the power to change and are changing what feels true to us in every given moment.

    What do I WANT to be true?

    When we ask ourselves what we WANT to be true – suddenly the limiting, self-defeating thoughts that trap us fade away.  Perhaps it feels true that your boss is a stubborn pig headed idiot – but do you WANT this to be true?  Can you KNOW this is true? The answer is probably a resounding “No”.  So, what is it that you do want to be true?  When we get clear on what we want to be true, we are much more likely to take actions towards creating that truth.  We naturally begin writing the story we’d prefer to experience.

    So…..what feels true about your quagmire now?

     

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      Apathy As A Virtue

      On investing your energy wisely.

      Apathy : The absence of interest in or enthusiasm for things generally considered interesting or moving

      Every once in awhile we as humans fall prey to some sort of version of an emotional  energy trap.  It may be some circumstance, or relationship, or conflict or state of being that consumes us, distracts us, slows us down and gets us off track.   In the midst of these distractions all to often it is our dreams, our vision our purpose that we tend to become apathetic to.

      I know I have had times in my life that I have been so caught up in my “stuff” that I cannot even begin to think about what I really want to do, places I want to go and the person I am choosing to grow into.

      This made me realize – perhaps the opposite it also true.  Perhaps the opposite also SHOULD be true.

      I have decided it is possible to get so caught up in your best self that you naturally don’t even notice or rapidly and with ease recover from the life diminishing, energy draining distractions that tend to come along.

      What I am talking about is not the same as avoiding, pretending or denying the existence of circumstances that present a challenge.  What I am talking about is keeping it in perspective.  In the grand scheme of things how much will it matter?  In contrast to your own well-being, happiness and ability to get to where you want to go, is it worthy of the energy and attention you are giving it?

      I find it suspicious that apathy is determined by what is “generally considered” (as in by others, by the masses, by the status quo) to be interesting or moving. It makes me want to say “I GET TO CHOOSE” what I am going to let myself truly care about and what and who I am going to give my precious energy to.

      One last metaphor to bring my point home:  Imagine your energy as if it were money.  How much are you willing to spend to stay in this place?  What is the likely return on investment?

      Sometimes it is simply time to shift your focus and energy to the things that serve to grow and enrich you.

      What will you let bring joy to you today?

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        FEEL IT! Feel it Real Good!

        On using your emotions as a compass to navigate through life.

        I am an “emoter”.   I feel everything and I cannot help but express what I am feeling. I have always been a person that cries easily, and laughs even more easily.  My emotions radiate through my body.   I am a crier.  I cry when I learn something new that excites me.  I cry when I witness other people in their power, owning their magnificence or letting go of a painful story.  I cry when I am filled with joy, gratitude or peace.  I cry when I am speaking from my heart. I cry when I am frustrated, disappointed or afraid.  I feel with all of me.

        I used to make my emotions wrong.  I used to think that crying meant I was weak or broken.  I used to tell people: “just think of it as my eyes watering like an allergic reaction to emotion” .  I felt I needed to “justify this behaviour and find a way to make others more comfortable with it. Our society is not particularly comfortable with crying or with feelings in general.  We make up all kinds of stories about what is going on for someone who is crying. So I decided it was my job to stuff my emotions.  To hide what I was experiencing.  To learn how to “get over it” – quickly before anyone saw.  This robbed me of my authenticity.  I was so caught up in avoiding the uncomfortable feelings I wasn’t able to tune into the wisdom they offered.

        As a coach I have discovered how important allowing, expressing and experiencing emotion is.  There is unbelievable wisdom in our emotion.  They let us know when we are out of integrity with ourselves, when we are standing more fully in our power, when our values are being trampled and when we have created an authentic connection with another human being.  Emotions are our compass to help navigate through life.

        When I began to stay with my emotions and just “notice” them without making them right or wrong, I stopped writing an elaborate story of what they meant about me, or my circumstance.  I discovered what a wonderful gift emotions are.  I saw that when I put my effort into avoiding the uncomfortable emotions they got all swirly-wirly and impossible to make sense of.  But if I STAYED with them, unpacked them and asked myself which ones were based in truth and which ones were coming out of assumptions I had made, I was far more at choice about what to do with the emotion I was experiencing.  I am now able to use them as a tool in decision making.  I am more able to take risks, to go places I know will stir up emotion that I used to want to avoid, trusting I can stay, knowing that everything I get to feel is a gift, a lesson and an opportunity to understand myself and my world more fully.

        I have a new word for experiencing emotion – ALIVENESS!

        Happy being fully ALIVE to you!

        Here’s a little jam to get you in the mood to emote!  

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          What’s Your Verbal Action?

          On being intentional with your words and creating your desired impact.

          To Ignite. To inspire. To Spark. To Kindle. To Trigger. To Activate.  To Provoke.  To Instigate. To Irritate. To Tease.  To Tantalize.

          When speaking there is ALWAYS a desired impact.

          This concept became most pronounced to me as a University Theatre student as I was developing the tool of Verbal Actions.  Basic Idea: Inexperienced actors and directors tend to assume that the best way to portray a character is to sort out what the feeling or emotion is behind the words, and then “act” that emotion to the tune of the playwright’s dialogue.

          The trouble is emotions are not “playable”.  No authentic, or dare I say, believable, performance has been created by pasting feelings over words.  The best way for an actor and a director to communicate and the fastest route to an authentic performance is to create from what they call in the ‘biz’ verbal actions. This concept is so important to the craft of acting that there is literally an Actors’ Thesaurus filled with potential verbal actions.

          Try it.  Pick 3-4 of the Verbal Actions from the beginning of this post.  Now say the following piece of dialogue with each of the differing verbal actions you chose.

          “Winnipeg Manitoba is by far the best city in the world to live!”

          The verbal action behind what you are saying vastly informs the way you say it AND therefore the impact the exact same words create.

          Now before I turn this into an acting lesson, flip the concept around.  How often do we let our emotions run the show of our dialogue and become unintentional with the impact of our words?

          How much more powerful might communication be if we took the time to reflect on what is intended to be accomplished with our words?

          When we go unconscious about our verbal actions we run the risk of our impact becoming something along the lines of “to intimidate, to convince, to belittle, to instigate, to elude, to frustrate, to silence, to shame, to lecture, to dominate, to ignore” and miscommunication is inevitable.

          So let’s get smart with our dialogue:

          1. Intentionally choose empowering verbal actions. (For example: To Empower. To Inform. To Delight. To Align.  To Involve. To Encourage. To Stimulate. To Connect.)
          2. Practice and play with these new verbal actions in your everyday communication. Notice what lands. When and how are you most easily able to create your desired impact?  What are your keys to success?
          3.  Begin to notice when communication has gone awry. See what your unintentional verbal action may have been and strategize how you will recover.
          4.  Focus on making your new intentional and empowering verbal actions your default ways of speaking – and watch as the magic in your dialogue unfolds!

           

          I’d love to hear what some of the most empowering verbal actions you discover are.  Click Contact Me and leave a message to let me know!

          Happy Intentional Communication to you!

           

           

           

           

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            No More Should-ing!

            On Creating Action by Shifting Your “Shoulds” into “Wants”

            I really should…….I should be……..I should have…….more often then not we are operating under a should mentality.

            I believe it is Tony Robbins who refers to this as “Should-ing all over yourself”. It is a poopy, but all too common, way of thinking. As your mind leads with should you are simply more likely to experience resistance and much less likely to do the thing you are telling yourself you SHOULD do.

            Try it out.

            Think about a few of the things you have been telling yourself you should do.

            Notice the sensations you begin to experience. Perhaps a heaviness?  A sense of overwhelm or disappointed? A nuance of failure? Or maybe its just a neutral sensation of complacency because this is your default way of thinking.  None are great places to create action from.

            When we tell ourselves we SHOULD be doing anything it creates a pressure, a burden an undercurrent of not being at choice that is inherent with that dialogue.

            So…try this on for size…..

            The next time you hear yourself say I should ___________. Pause. Start the thought over with I WANT  _______________.

            I hear it!  “BUT most of me really doesn’t WANT to go to the gym, write that e-mail, do that laundry, wash those dishes, complete that project right now.”  I get it.  But check this out.  Take it one step further :

            I WANT to______________________ because__________________.

            You would not be telling yourself you SHOULD be doing anything unless there was some compelling nugget of a reason to get it done.  When you connect yourself to the value, the outcome, the place that created the original desire you also unleash the storage of energy, of positivity, of purpose that will propel you into action with a much more powerful perspective.

            So quiet the voice that tells you all the reasons why not and the voice that says you simply HAVE TO do anything and ask yourself what is it about this action I WANT to do.

            Happy Being In Action To You!

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              Is your Mind Working Overtime?

              On Letting go and Remembering Your Purpose.

              I recently attended a yoga class that was far more challenging than I had previously experienced.  I found myself getting bogged down with all the things that I simply could not do.  I feared that the yoga instructor was going to think that I was not trying. I feared others would be distracted by me.  I was flustered and felt confused and out of place and distracted.  I felt caught in the middle of a downward spiral of self doubt and unrealistic expectations.   I was feeling quite the opposite of in love with myself.  Have you ever felt that way as you stepped out of your comfort zone?

              I have come to learn (although I often need to remind myself) that when I am in the middle of that vortex of negative thought, it is because my mind is working over time.  When we give all the power to our thoughts, and forget about the wisdom of our hearts and the power of our body, overwhelm sets in.

              When I remembered the purpose of my yoga practice (to rest my mind and strengthen my body) I was able to quiet my thoughts and accomplish exactly what I set out to do.  My body took over and eased itself into the exact version of each pose  it is capable of. I did not need to decide if it was “good enough”.  The truth is, it was better than my mind could have ever created it being.  No, I did not miraculously develop the ability to stand on my head, but the deeper connection to the experience of yoga that unfolded felt like nothing short of a miracle.

              So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed or out of place or flustered or confused – take a moment to get out of your head and into your heart. My guess is that there you will find out what you know to be true and what you want to create.  And if your mind still wants to run the show, here are some powerful questions to steer it in the right direction : What was my intention in taking on this challenge?  How can I be more in alignment with that purpose? What am I learning RIGHT NOW?  Isn’t life wonderful?

               

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                Fall Truly Madly Deeply In Love – With Yourself

                On choosing self love and writing a new story.

                I have a confession to make.  I spent most of my life believing that it was impossible for ANYONE to truly love them selves – crazy, right? I had my logic though. I mean, I saw all of my own flaws, my own weaknesses. I remembered each time I had felt rejected, or not enough, every time I had missed the mark, misspoke, misunderstood, messed up.   I had done a wonderful job of making these unlovable pieces of myself acceptable to the world. I had tricked a few people into loving me, but I could not possibly love myself. I knew the truth.  It was safe to assume this was true for the rest of the world.

                This idea was as true to me as the fact that the sky is blue. I never questioned it.  Love was a fragile thing that could easily vanish. Being loved rested fully in the hands of others, dependent on their impression of me.  The only time this belief reared its ugly head in a way that I did not know how to handle was when I would see the undeniable magnificence of others.  Deep sadness would overwhelm me as I thought– they will never know, never understand, never see what is so OBVIOUS to me. Tragic. It was a heavy burden.

                And then as a result of some powerful coaching ……I decided to love myself.  

                Once I realized that I had created the original belief, it became very clear to me that I was just as capable of creating – and proving – a new truth.  So I decided to love myself. I began creating evidence that it was true.   I treated myself with love.  I practiced seeing myself through the eyes of someone who was IN LOVE with ME.  I took myself out on dates.  I listened to my own thoughts and wisdom.  I went to the gym.  I took time in the morning to look into my own eyes and smile.  I began to heal, and suddenly I was even more loving and open to being truly loved.

                Spend some time thinking about the last time you fell in love.  That deep, all consuming, intoxicating, seemingly uncontrollable feeling of being absorbed in the wonder of another person. Ahhhhhh.  I smile just thinking about it.  Suddenly the world seems brighter, the air is fresher, life is a million times more exciting, there is so much to look forward to, so much to delightedly dream about.  Wouldn’t life be delectable if we could store that experience and have a daily dose?

                What if we can?  Simply choose to love ALL of yourself TODAY.

                 

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